From centuries, Music has been a string that connects together communities, and forges & evolves their unique identity. The exquisite beats and sounds in any genre of music spawn the unique sensations that manifest themselves into different reactions. It can be a potion to soothe the tumultuous mind, or an envoy of love in the soundless tides. Music can be deeply human and at the same time, deeply cultural as well, for – like languages – there are many forms of music. They are often recreated and restructured for different society, region, and religion. So, how the state of Maharashtra could remain stripped of it?
Apart from the holy people and colorful traditions, since 12th to 18th century AD the state belongs to a rich tradition of folk songs, poetry, and music, which are:
- Natya Sangeet: Belonging to a legacy of almost 200-year-old tradition, it is a semi-classical musical form that looks a lot like a Musical Opera in the western tradition. Its influx made music accessible to the common man, which was formerly the cartel of crowned heads. The themes ranged from romance, religion, bravery to Marathi legends. The consideration to raga and theatrical elements grabs the interest of the addressees.
- Powada: Emerged in late 17th century, it is Marathi poetry written in the ballad style. It was a popular entertainment source for the village folks. It started with the narration of a thrilling episode of Shivaji assassinating his foe Afzal Khan, and other historical events. Shahirs aka Powada singers later formed a guild called Gondhalis. The resonant singing and histrionic acting are the quintessence of it.
- Tamasha: During Peshwa period of Maratha Empire in the 18th century, this theatrical entertainment form came into being. Its amusing music and dance energized the spirits of the locals. The music draws its influence from many Indian art forms and traditions such as Kaveli, Ghazals, Kirtan, Lavani, Dashavatara, Kathak, etc. Performed in two styles i.e. Dholki Bhaari and Sangeet Baari, this form was generally associated with traveling theater groups called Kolhatis. Loud humor and suggestive lyrics are its soul.
- Keertan: Dawn of Bhakti Movement in Maharashtra under the headship of Saint Poets like Dnyaneshwar, amdev, Tukaram, Jani and Soyara has given rise to this devotional form of music. It believed in the fusion of Bhakti (devotion) with Jnana (knowledge) for oneness with the God. Sung in solo and group, Keertan is generally practiced in 3 traditions i.e. Naradiya Keertan, Waarkari Keertan, and Ramdasi Keertan. Unfussy rustic feel, utter frankness, and self-revelation are its innate qualities.
- Community Songs: Bhaleri is uncommon tunes particular to a society that lightens the mood of farmers at work, or, people in a social gathering. Town ladies croon Owi at daybreak to narrate the tales of mother’s or spouse’s home. Palane, a lullaby is quite common to put infants to sleep. Also, the unique songs are played at the halad and ghana ceremonies in marriage by Suvasinis. The simple tunes linger in minds for long.
- Instrumental Music: Sweet sounds of the world famous musical instrument, Sitar found its origin in the ‘town of music’, Miraj from Sangli district of Maharashtra. Besides, the trumpet-like instrument, Tutari is played in the convention of palkhi in Maharashtra to exhibit the royal arrival or the message of triumph loudly. Owing to its flexibility, Tutari is viewed as a political symbol nowadays.
Music Festivals like Banganga Festival, Pune Festival, Latur Festival, Ellora Festival, Sangeet Shankar Darbaar, organized annually are a sight to catch. Besides, these festivals prevent our traditional art forms from waning out.
- Rishu Jain